Ted Weiner, independent oil operator, art collector, and patron, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 9, 1911, the son of Samuel and Lillian (Blanc) Weiner. He attended grade schools in Oakland, California, and received his secondary education at public schools in Eldorado, Arkansas, and the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. He married Margaret Lucile Clements on September 15, 1938; they had one daughter. In 1929 Weiner began his career in oil exploration while working for his father, who was in the drilling business and owned a machine parts shop. In 1929 Ted Weiner and a partner drilled the first productive well in Ward County, a venture that led to the development of the South Ward Field. During the 1930s he found the Monroe Field, also in Ward County; the Halfway Field in Lea County, New Mexico; the Weiner Field in Winkler County; and others in New Mexico. Following World War II Weiner and his brothers Charles and Stanley discovered a number of reserves in Midland, Upton, and Reagan counties that came to be known as the Spraberry Trend Field (see SPRABERRY-DEAN SANDSTONE FIELDS). Further discoveries were made in Dawson, Howard, Yoakum, Borden, and Callahan counties in Texas, and several counties in Louisiana. Weiner established Texas Crude Oil Company in 1943, and after World War II he managed the company in partnership with his brother Stanley, in charge of West Texas operations, and his brother Charles, in charge of Louisiana operations. Weiner was also director and president of Coral Drilling Company, vice president of B. L. McFarland, Incorporated, and B. L. McFarland Drilling Contractor, vice president of the Mid-Tex Manufacturing Company, and director of the Sequoia Oil Company and Pipe, Incorporated. He was a director of the Fluor Corporation; director, vice president, and treasurer of Pipe Line Transportation, Incorporated; director, chairman, and chief executive officer of North American International; and a director for Petroleum Leaseholds, Southern Crude Company, Eastern Shur Guide, North American Oil and Gas, Calgary Crude Oil Company, and International Royalties.
Weiner's interest in art was sparked in the early 1940s, when he purchased a landscape in the course of redecorating his parents' home. He began collecting actively in 1951, and amassed an extensive collection of paintings and sculpture. The collection featured contemporary sculptures by artists such as Harry Bertoia, Gerhard Marcks, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, Jim Love, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, Evaline Sellors, and Jack Zajac. The Weiners were praised for exhibiting a "catholicity of taste," buying works that ranged from the detailed realism of Eros Pellini's bronze Head of a Girl (1958–59) to Jean Arp's fluid bronze abstraction Growth (1938). The Weiners also took chances by buying the works of unproved artists and generously supported the work of such Texan sculptors as Charles Umlauf and Charles T. Williams. Many of the larger pieces were placed outside in the 6½-acre garden surrounding the Weiners' Fort Worth home, which was designed by New York architect Edward Larrabe Barnes. Selected works in the Weiner collection were exhibited at the Fort Worth Art Center in 1959, the University Art Museum at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, and at the Palm Springs Desert Museum in Palm Springs, California, in 1969. Ted Weiner's interest in the arts was manifested further in his support of community organizations. He was a member of the Art Commission of the city of Fort Worth, and served on the board of directors of the Fort Worth Art Association, the Fort Worth Civic Opera Association, the Fort Worth Children's Museum (later the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History), the Reeder School, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Foundation. He also served on the board of directors of the Texas Association for Mental Health and St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Worth. The West Texas Chamber of Commerce recognized his contributions with the Culture Award in 1967.
In the late 1960s Weiner established homes in Palm Springs, California and Incline Village, Nevada. In Palm Springs he served on that city's cultural commission, and was a trustee of the Palm Springs Desert Museum from 1967 to 1979. At the national level, Weiner supported the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and was a member of the National Committee, University Art Museums, and the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts. He was a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Independent Royalty Owners Association, and the International Platform Association. In the Masonic Order he was affiliated with the Scottish Rite, the Commandery, and the Shrine, and became a thirty-third degree mason. During the late 1960s and 1970s Weiner financed the production of several movies, notably El Dorado, which was directed by Howard Hawks and starred John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. Weiner was owner and operator of Ted Weiner Oil Properties Trust when he died on May 1, 1979, in Palm Springs, California. His ashes were interred in the Masonic Memorial Garden and Mausoleum in Reno, Nevada. Weiner's Fort Worth home was sold in the early 1970s, and the Weiner art collection, now owned by Gwendolyn Weiner, is no longer displayed there. A number of important pieces are on long-term loan to the Palm Springs Desert Museum, the Museum of Texas Tech University, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.